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W. H. Auden

Data de nascimento: 21. Fevereiro 1907
Data de falecimento: 29. Setembro 1973
Outros nomes:W.H. Auden

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Wystan Hugh Auden que escrevia como W. H. Auden, foi um poeta anglo-americano, tido como um dos grandes autores do século XX.

Auden cresceu em e perto de Birmingham, em uma família de classe média de profissionais que liam literatura inglesa na Christ Church, em Oxford. Seus primeiros poemas, escritos no final de 1920 e início da década de 1930, alternados entre estilos modernos de telegráficos e fluentes tradicionais, foram escritas em um tom intenso e dramático, e estabeleceu sua reputação como um poeta político de esquerda e profeta. Ele tornou-se desconfortável nesse papel posteriormente em 1930, e abandonou-a depois que ele se mudou para os Estados Unidos em 1939, onde se tornou um cidadão americano em 1946. Seus poemas em 1940 exploraram temas religiosos e éticos de uma forma menos dramática do que seus trabalhos anteriores, mas ainda combinando formas tradicionais e estilos com novas formas concebidas por Auden para si mesmo. Na década de 1950 e 1960, muitos de seus poemas foram voltados para as formas em que palavras reveladas escondiam as emoções, e ele tomou um interesse particular por escritos libretos de ópera, uma forma ideal para a expressão direta de sentimentos fortes.

Para os jovens intelectuais de esquerda ele foi a grande voz da década de 1930, "denunciando os males da sociedade capitalista, mas também alertando para a ascensão do totalitarismo": algumas vezes demasiadamente político, sempre implicitamente radical e incômodo, pela frequência com que lançava mão, em seus poemas, de espiões, bordéis e impulsos reprimidos - sua homossexualidade estava por trás de várias referências pessoais, aparecendo insistentemente em sua poesia. Assim que T. S. Eliot publicou a primeira coletânea de Auden, Poemas , ele foi imediatamente reconhecido como porta-voz de sua geração. Filho de médico, Auden foi educado na Escola Gresham e na Christ Church, em Oxford, onde se tornou o líder de uma "gangue" formada por Stephen Spender, Louis MacNeice e Cecil Day-Lewis . Logo começou a colaborar com um amigo da escola preparatória, Christopher Isherwood, em peças esquerdistas que misturavam farsa e poesia. Em 1939, mudou-se com Isherwood para a América, onde conheceu aquele que se tornaria seu companheiro, Chester Kallman, com quem anos mais tarde escreveu libretos de ópera, incluindo The Rake's Progress, para Stravinsky.

Seu poema Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone foi utilizado no filme Quatro casamentos e um funeral , de Mike Newell ,

Citações W. H. Auden

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„In most poetic expressions of patriotism, it is impossible to distinguish what is one of the greatest human virtues from the worst human vice, collective egotism.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: In most poetic expressions of patriotism, it is impossible to distinguish what is one of the greatest human virtues from the worst human vice, collective egotism. The virtue of patriotism has been extolled most loudly and publicly by nations that are in the process of conquering others, by the Roman, for example, in the first century B. C., the French in the 1790s, the English in the nineteenth century, and the Germans in the first half of the twentieth. To such people, love of one's country involves denying the right of others, of the Gauls, the Italians, the Indians, the Poles, to love theirs. "C.P. Cavafy", p. 341

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„Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations. Man chooses either life or death, but he chooses; everything he does, from going to the toilet to mathematical speculation, is an act of religious worship, either of God or of himself. Lastly by the classical apotheosis of Man-God, Augustine opposes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The former is a Hercules who compels recognition by the great deeds he does in establishing for the common people in the law, order and prosperity they cannot establish for themselves, by his manifestation of superior power; the latter reveals to fallen man that God is love by suffering, i. e. by refusing to compel recognition, choosing instead to be a victim of man's self-love. The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new. Assessing St. Augustine's perspectives in "Augustus to Augustine", p. 37

„The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: The mystics themselves do not seem to have believed their physical and mental sufferings to be a sign of grace, but it is unfortunate that it is precisely physical manifestations which appeal most to the religiosity of the mob. A woman might spend twenty years nursing lepers without having any notice taken of her, but let her once exhibit the stigmata or live for long periods on nothing but the Host and water, and in no time the crowd will be clamoring for her beatification. "The Protestant Mystics", p. 72

„I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: I said earlier that I do not believe an artist's life throws much light upon his works. I do believe, however, that, more often than most people realize, his works may throw light upon his life. An artist with certain imaginative ideas in his head may then involve himself in relationships which are congenial to them. "The Greatest of the Monsters", p. 247

„The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Man … always acts either self-loving, just for the hell of it, or God-loving, just for the heaven of it; his reasons, his appetites are secondary motivations. Man chooses either life or death, but he chooses; everything he does, from going to the toilet to mathematical speculation, is an act of religious worship, either of God or of himself. Lastly by the classical apotheosis of Man-God, Augustine opposes the Christian belief in Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The former is a Hercules who compels recognition by the great deeds he does in establishing for the common people in the law, order and prosperity they cannot establish for themselves, by his manifestation of superior power; the latter reveals to fallen man that God is love by suffering, i. e. by refusing to compel recognition, choosing instead to be a victim of man's self-love. The idea of a sacrificial victim is not new; but that it should be the victim who chooses to be sacrificed, and the sacrificers who deny that any sacrifice has been made, is very new. Assessing St. Augustine's perspectives in "Augustus to Augustine", p. 37

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„A real book reads us.“

— W. H. Auden
Reported by Lionel Trilling in "On the Modern Element in Modern Literature", Partisan Review, January-February 1961, p. 15 (reprinted in Trilling's Beyond Culture, 1965): Trilling wrote: "taking the cue of W. H. Auden's remark that a real book reads us, I have been read by Eliot's poems...". More commonly reported as "a real book is not one that we read but one that reads us". This paraphrase of Trilling's reported quotation first appeared in a review by Robie Macauley of Trilling's Beyond Culture in the New York Times Book Review, 14 November 1965, p. 38: "I must borrow a phrase from Mr. Trilling (who borrows it from W. H. Auden): a real book is not one that we read but one that reads us." The same version, attributed to Auden, appears in Evan Esar, 20,000 Quips & Quotes (1968), p. 87 (with a comma after "we read"). There is no evidence that Auden ever wrote or said this version of the phrase. Other variations (e.g. "not one that's read" for "not one that we read") seem to be misrecollections of Robie Macaulay's paraphrase.

„All pity is self-pity.“

— W. H. Auden
"Interlude: West's Disease", p. 243

„He suffers from one great literary defect, which is often found in lonely geniuses: he never knows when to stop.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: He suffers from one great literary defect, which is often found in lonely geniuses: he never knows when to stop. Lonely people are apt to fall in love with the sound of their own voice, as Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, not out of conceit but out of despair of finding another who will listen and respond. On Søren Kierkegaard, in "A Knight of Doleful Countenance", p. 192

„Machines have no political opinions, but they have profound political effects. They demand a strict regimentation of time, and, by abolishing the need for manual skill, have transformed the majority of the population from workers into laborers.“

— W. H. Auden
Context: Machines have no political opinions, but they have profound political effects. They demand a strict regimentation of time, and, by abolishing the need for manual skill, have transformed the majority of the population from workers into laborers. There are, that is to say, fewer and fewer jobs which a man can find a pride and satisfaction in doing well, more and more which have no interest in themselves and can be valued only for the money they provide. "A Russian Aesthete", p. 279

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